Some residents living across from a Babylon Town park are upset over a town-contracted outdoor restaurant that they say plays loud music throughout the week.
The owners of the business said they've tried to keep the music at a reasonable level.
The Beach Hut, a restaurant with live music every night at Tanner Park in Copiague, is just the latest of several outdoor restaurants and clubs across Long Island that during the summer garner noise complaints from neighbors.
The Beach Hut has drawn the ire of Amity Harbor's Francine Buchheim, who lives across a canal from the park. She recently went to the town board to complain about the music, describing a "pulsating bass" that is "unnerving, unsettling" and "fills the streets, the backyards and the homes of Amity Harbor residents."
"There is no reason why the Beach Hut music needs to be this loud," said Buchheim, a 38-year resident.
Some of Buchheim's neighbors agreed. "You would think somebody is going by the house with a boom box, it's shaking so much," said Don Allen, 62, who said he has to close his windows to block the sound.
Town deputy supervisor Tony Martinez said the Tanner Park location is the only one of several similar locations in the town to have noise complaints, though none were about the town's free concerts that are also held there. He said the town is looking into planting trees to create a sound buffer.
"We want to make sure all of our residents are happy and we also want to make sure the Beach Hut lives within their contract and town code," he said.
Others in the neighborhood said they welcomed the music, even sitting outside to enjoy it. "It doesn't bother me," said 91-year-old Grace Short. "If they played Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, I'd be up dancing."
The Beach Hut has three additional locations in Babylon parks and three locations elsewhere on the South Shore. The town first contracted for Tanner Park with vendor Fred Marsilio in 2008, a four-year agreement with two options for extensions, to 2017 and to 2022. The contract requires a $10,500 license fee to the town in 2014, plus 5 percent of the Tanner Park business' annual gross revenue in excess of $60,000.
Beach Hut manager Jacqueline Poulos said that even though the town allows bands to play until 10 p.m., after receiving complaints she now ends performances by 9:30 p.m. She said she also has put up fencing near the bands and directed speakers away from houses. Poulos said winds blowing from the east sometimes carry the music and she has gotten complaints on nights with no band, when the music is coming from cars in the parking lot.
While not specific, the Beach Hut's contract requires compliance with the town's noise code, which defines violations as a "sound level in excess of 95 dB(A) sustained for more than 30 seconds."
Poulos said their policy is to keep the music at a level where those eating outside can still have conversations."We try to keep an eye on the volume, but if you can have a conversation without having to yell, then I'm not sure what else we can do," she said.